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Developing Cluster Marine Economy in Coastal Areas

(People's Daily Online)

10:31, October 20, 2011

2011 can be said a critical year for China's marine economy. The strategic layout has come into being on the whole. However, structural problems like repetition in regional planning and loosely scattered industry layout remain an issue. And unexpected incidents including Bohai Sea oil leak and explosions of coastal chemical factories happened recently also called for attention. Against such a context, how to transform China's marine economy into cluster-type through scientific planning becomes a major issue.

Coastal areas possess the most clustered economy in China. Its three big urban agglomerations have become the leading "Troika" and growth pole of China's economy. These areas cover only 3.4% of the total size of China, yet they created 38.6% of the total GDP, 70.3% of the total export and attracted 55.9% of the total FDI. They are becoming world-class urban agglomerations. Eastern Coastal area is the center of China's economic growth; it created 55.6% of the total GDP with only 9.5% of the total size of China, which is equivalent to 8.8% of the world's total GDP by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

The agglomerative effect is due to increasing returns to scale, lowered transaction costs by spatial contiguity, knowledge "spillover effect", strengthened competition and cooperation produced by economic concentration, etc. The agglomerative effect is the source of rapid growth and continuous innovations among coastal areas.

However, rapid rise of the cost of production factors is continuously weakening the agglomerative advantage and competitive advantage of coastal areas. Emerging "labor shortage" is the best proof of the rising cost of production factors. Furthermore, costs of environment, energy and resources are rising; the RMB is appreciating; traditional comparative advantages are weakening.Particularly, comparative advantages of labor-intensive industries are significantly weakened, which calls for upgrading of industries, firms and products. Therefore, developing cluster-type marine economy is crucial to maintain the agglomerative advantage, and to make marine economy a pathway for upgrading industries, firms and products.

The cluster-type marine economy finds its expression in the following aspects.

【1】 【2】 【3】

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